Cash boost for bureau

Broxtowe Citizen’s Advice Bureau has been awarded a lottery grant of £300,000 to spend on debt advice.

The service, which has offices in both Eastwood and Beeston, has been awarded the money after seeing debt problems rocket by 30 per cent over the last year.

Manager Sue Maslowska said: “To get that amount in this day and age is almost a miracle. We didn’t expect to get it. We’re gob smacked.”

Ms Maslowska will now increase her debt advisors from three to seven.

She said 45 per cent of what the bureau did was debt advice and it was their ‘biggest, biggest problem’, with a ‘massive need’ for help in the area.

“We may officially be in recovery from the recession, but for many people the damage done by the economic downturn is long lasting and far from over,” she said. ”Our clients are struggling with unmanageable debt.”

The advice bureau had its funding cut by 70 per cent by Nottinghamshire County Council earlier this year and has been fighting for funding to stay open.

Worried that she would have to reduce opening from five days down to two, Ms Maslowska wrote off to more than 140 organisations asking for financial help.

She secured £65,000 in grants from 26 organisations and a further £85,000 from the national Government, enabling the bureau to stay open four days a week until at least March 2012.

But the service manager made it clear this latest grant could not be used to train up more volunteer workers to keep the doors open longer, and it was just specifically for debt work.

New debt caseworkers will provide a full range of debt advice including drafting letters, financial statements, negotiating with creditors and third parties to get payments rescheduled or written off, and bankruptcies advice. Clients will also be given new skills to help them budget.